Greetings, friends. I hopped over to the football side of things once last year’s baseball season ended, but now I’m back. And apparently, I am such a disturbed individual that I am doing fantasy baseball mock drafts in early January. And, I am writing about them. And, well, I just wanted to start another sentence with and because it feels so wrong but so right at the same time. Anyway, moving on.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Couch Managers 2017 Industry Mock Draft, and we’re going to recap it here. This mock was for a 15-team, 5×5 roto, with 23 roster spots made up of 9 pitchers (9), 1 spot for each position (8), a second catcher (1), 2 more outfielders (2), one corner infielder (1), one middle infielder (1), and one utility position (1). As long as I did that math correctly, that is 23 spots.

Below, I will provide the results for the first six rounds and a give my thoughts for each round. I’ll do the same for rounds 7-12, 13-18, and 19-23 in subsequent posts. I’ll try to keep it brief. All we really care about are the results here, right? Feel free to tell me how awesome or crappy you think my team is, along with what you think were the best and worst picks of the draft or the different rounds…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Phils have a game plan, and it looks a something like this:  trade and/or sign washed-out AL East starters.  Worked last year with Jeremy Hellickson, and now they’ve traded for Clay Buchholz.  This is the first trade where I can declaratively state both teams won and I don’t even know who Josh Tobias is, the infielder the Phils sent to the Red Sox.  Yes, I used declaratively.  Watch out, reading comprehension!  Looks like Tobias has some speed, but it doesn’t matter.  The Sox needed Buchholz off their team because they have a set rotation without him, and the NL East is about as good a landing place can be, even if Citizens Flank is slightly offensive-minded, and I don’t just mean the insults that rain down from the stands.  “The only time the Phils ever strung three W’s together is with their website.”  That’s a Philly fan.  “Now lean down so I can puke on you.”  That’s the same Phils fan.  Buchholz looks to be in possession of all his pitches that he had when he had a 3.30 xFIP in 2015.  Of course, those pitches couldn’t have looked more pear-shaped than last year with his 5.32 xFIP.  Honestly, I think he could be anywhere from a 3.50 ERA pitcher to a 4.50 ERA one.  Is he a mixed league starter?  Maybe as a streamer, or if he starts off well, but not out of the gate, as they say in horse racing.  For NL-Only, I’m going to like him as a late-round flyer.  For 2017, I’ll give him the projections of 8-10/4.07/1.31/117 in 145 IP.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the offseason for 2017 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I don’t understand this.  The Padres’ Triple-A affiliate made a run for the Triple-A championship against the Yankees’ affiliate, so the Padres were holding down their top prospects to play in the championship.  On the surface, it seems straightforward enough.  Making run for championship, want best players there.  Okay, I get that part.  The part where I get lost, WHY DO YOU CARE IF YOU WIN A TRIPLE-A CHAMPIONSHIP?!  Sorry, my keyboard got sticky the other day when Giancarlo returned.  Don’t ask.  The Padres are in the business of winning AAA championships?  I don’t remember the Yankees keeping Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin in Triple-A to help their Triple-A team.  I’d love to go into the Padres’ front office, throw some furniture against a wall and start screaming, “Let’s win some major league games for a change!”  They need a organization-wide readjustment, and Grey Albright, Fantasy Master Lothario (don’t abbreviate it), is just the man to do it!  So, with this said, the Padres called up Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot (and some other guys).  Margot and Renfroe, who sounds like a name that exists to only be said by Scooby Doo, are top 100 prospects.  Margot is straight SAGNOF this late in the year, maybe could provide a few steals in the last ten days, and Renfroe is the exact opposite, with a chance to provide a few dingers.  They’re not going to make much impact in ten days.  Too bad they had a Triple-A playoff run to attend to first.  Which they lost!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Is this Men on the Move Moving Company?  Great.  I have a small problem.  Okay, it’s not small.  But it is a problem.  I have a ‘hype sleeper’ sitting here and I’m trying to move sixteen posts in front of it.  You can handle the job?  That’s great!  Can I get hyphens between each post too?  I can?  Wow, you guys are lifesavers.”  *comes in to see* Hype-hype-hype-hype-hype-hype-hype-post-sleep-hyper.  What the hell is this?!  I wanted sixteen posts in front of hype sleeper!  Not this gobbledygook!  So, Taijuan Walker flashed some of that post16-hype sleeper business last night — 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 11 Ks — to lower his ERA to 4.28.  It was an easy matchup (vs. Angels), but it still showed why year after year I keep going back to Walker.  He is talented.  Can anyone say seventeen posts for 2017?  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Daniel Norris went 6 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 7 baserunners, 11 Ks, ERA at 3.81.  Deserved better than a no decision, but he’s 23 years old, making $500,000, so who cares what he deserves?  I deserve equal pay for cracking jokes about fantasy baseball for six months!  *marching with a picket sign*  Sign reads:  BLOGGER = Better Living-wage Or Gainful Gifts, Earnings, Reimbursements *pull back to reveal I’m marching in my underwear with my dog humping my leg*  Stop, Ted!  I’m trying to make a point!  So, Norris looked terrific, but he’s had a vexing season.  Vexing, I tell ya!  He was put in middle relief after a back problem that sidelined in the spring, then he returned and was almost immediately sidelined with an oblique problem.  Why do we care?  Well, I wrote a sleeper post about him last year, saying, “He’s a sleeper, because he’ll likely be drafted late since he appears to be a year away, and, sadly, he might not just appear to be a year away, but he might actually be a year away, though he might appear to be a year away and not be a year away.  I’m the Grand Champion of putting “year away” in one sentence, by the way.  Norris is a pure upside play.  He could be a 4+ ERA guy that bounces between the rotation, the bullpen and the minors or a 2.75 ERA guy with truckloads of Ks.”  And that’s me quoting me!  I quote that, because I was exactly right (I couldn’t have been wrong since I hedged more than Sonic) and for 2017 I’m going to like Norris for the exact same reasons while being a year closer.  Dot dot dot.  To getting a living wage!  I’m Norma Rae!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So I’m taking us down yet another rabbit hole, into yet another JB’s-vanity-project-abyss. Although, since the last time this happened only two weeks ago, Alex Reyes made it into the rotation! He was only “OK”, and we’re not sure if he’ll be starting again for the next turn, but at least we were put on readiness!

Of course since I added this guy in the REL, I’ve been following Brock Stewart pretty intently this season. Maybe it’s because Brock is a common name we share! But really, it has to do with his under-the-radar ascension through the Minors this season. He’s dominated in the minor leagues with a 9+ K-rate, a BB-rate well under 2, including a 2.49 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in 50.2 PCL innings, with a 9.59:1.07 K:BB in OKC. Overall, his MiLB numbers are a 1.68 ERA 0.86 WHIP in 20 starts, with 126:18 K:BB in 118 innings. And yet, no one seems to care about this guy since they want Jose De Leon! While many may be surprised Brock got the call yet again to spot start over De Leon with an opening in the rotation, logistically he’s on the 40-man while De Leon isn’t and there’s a roster crunch. But it’s not like Brock isn’t deserving! And he’s got pretty good stuff – 93-95 MPH fastball, hard slider, and a change-up that is oddly WAY slower than the heater at 81ish MPH.

Obviously, at the Major League level, things couldn’t be more of a polar opposite. Going into yesterday afternoon, his ERA was over 11 in two spot starts and one relief appearance. In that 3 innings of relief his last MLB appearance, he walked 4, or what would’ve been 22.2% of all the walks he’s thrown in the minors all year. Someone isn’t suited for the bullpen! And the two awful starts? One was a little unlucky with some BABIP hits @MIL, then a murdering @COL. Way to make a guy who progressed all the way from A-ball pitch in the two worst parks in the NL! So the start this afternoon, hosting the Cubs, is BY FAR his best matchup. Man, trial by fire! With Stewart so far off the radar, I am hoping that being pot committed and writing this open before the first pitch will cause some cosmic karma and help Brock throw a breakthrough game. Here’s how he looked:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So, I’m going to do something a little different today. I’m just gonna throw out the reason why right off the bat: I’m selfish and lazy. That’s what mid-August baseball talk is all about!

As part of my rebuilding efforts in the REL – well, I should say, my main anchor in my rebuilding efforts – I got Alex Reyes to hopefully be my staff stopper. I mean, have you SEEN the Brewers rotation?! Yikes. With some control issues and a pretty bad ERA in AAA, I wasn’t too surprised to see a fantastic arm like Reyes get the call-up anyway as a bullpener. This had been speculated upon all season – the Cards did this with their major prospects in Adam Wainwright and Carlos Martinez – so we’re not getting a big shock. And with Reyes called up at the same time as Luke Weaver, it appears they might piggyback each other for the foreseeable future. But Reyes clearly, CLEARLY looks like a dominant starter that’s about ready. After seeing his debut inning last Thursday night where he hit 101 twice, I’ve been eagerly awaiting an encore. Here’s how Reyes looked in his 2nd-4th career MLB innings Saturday afternoon at Wrigley:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Zach Eflin tossed a complete game 3-hit shutout Friday night versus the Pirates, requiring just 100 pitches to go all the way and pick up the win. It was the rookie’s first career shut out. That’s what I’m Eflin talking about! I know what you’re thinking, I loved him in those High School Musicals, I wish he was my Neighbors. Wrong Zach. Both are real good though. After a rocky debut to his rookie season in Toronto (2.2 IP, 9 hits, 8 ER, 3 BB), Zach Eflin has been on the attack ever since, allowing just 11 runs in the seven starts since his debut (2.07 ERA in 47.2 IP). More impressive is that he has pitched at least six innings in six of those seven starts, including two complete games. Dude is a horse. And at just 22 years young I guess that would make him a dot dot dot Filly. Zing! Wait, or is it a mare? Foal? Joke still works or nah? On second thought I’m thinking it might be a colt. Hmm. Regardless, Zach is clearly a stallion. So how is it he’s available in over 80% of fantasy leagues? Are you Eflin kidding me? Sure, the 26/8 K/BB ratio is nothing to call the presses about, but his 1.05 WHIP is mighty impressive. Some of the advanced stats may suggest he’s due for a bit of a correction, but why not ride the Zach train while its Eflin hot. He’s coming off his best career start and gets the Marlins next week, so pick him up, what are you Eflin waiting for?

Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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Yesterday, Francisco Liriano went 6 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 4 baserunners, 13 Ks with zero walks.  Insert the madman cackle of Francisco Liriano’s owners who owned him up until last night when he had a 5.11 ERA.  He had 13 Ks without a walk!  This came from a guy who had a 5.7 BB/9 coming into the game.  That’s not bad.  No, no.  You think that’s bad?  You should swipe right on Tinder the next time you come across a thesaurus if bad’s all you got.  That’s effin’ egregious.  That’s the 1980’s Lower East Side before Donald Trump fixed the entire New York City as narrated by Jon Voight.  That’s the worst walk rate since Todd Van Poppel’s walk rate of 6.87 in 1994.   Since 1980, there’s only been walk rates of 5.7 or worse four other times.  In 36 years!  Jesus, 36 years?  I’m getting old.  This start came against the Brewers who have struck out more than any other team in the major leagues.  So, nice start, but I wouldn’t go near him.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome, prematurely balding men and five women who are married to prematurely balding men and decided if you can’t beat them, join them!  Make yourself comfortable, this is gonna be a long post.  Here, enjoy some coffee.  Oops, you just drank rat poison.  Don’t worry, it can’t be worse than owning Chris Archer in the 1st half.  Oh, you owned him and that’s why you drank the poison!  Now, I’m following!   Hey, I’m supposed to be leading!  Before we get into the top 100 for the 2nd half of 2016 fantasy baseball, let’s just be glad our 18-year-old selves can’t see us now, we’d get beat up!  But our twelve-year-old selves would think we’re the coolest!  So, as with all of the other 2016 fantasy baseball rankings, take this list with a grain of salt.  If you need a 2nd baseman, but an outfielder is above him that doesn’t mean you can’t trade that outfielder for that 2nd baseman.  Also, things change in fantasy baseball.  Daily.  I could put Bryce Harper number two on the top 100 list for the second half of 2016 and he could pull a–Well, we won’t even mention an injury with Bryce.  Why soil a good thing, ya know?  This list is a road map for where I think guys are valued.  It’s not the Holy Grail in the Church of Grey, that would be my mustache.  This list is NOT (caps for emphasis, not aesthetics) where I see guys ending up if you were to take their first half and combine it with the 2nd half. This is simply a list of the top hundred fantasy baseball players if you were to pick them up today.  So while David Price did not have the greatest first half, he will appear on this list because I still believe.  The projections are not their combined 1st half and 2nd half numbers; these are their projections for the 2nd half of 2016.  I also liberally used our rest of the season Fantasy Baseball Player Rater.  That’s right, we have a Player Rater that tells you what players will do.  It’s like that camera from The Twilight Zone.  Welcome to the future!  Anyway, here’s the top 100 for fantasy baseball for the 2nd half of 2016:

Please, blog, may I have some more?